Why You Should Visit Seattle This Summer

The city’s bars, coffee shops, and famous live music venues are open for business.

Why You Should Visit Seattle This Summer

The Kimpton Palladian Hotel has a room waiting for you.

Courtesy of Kimpton Palladian Hotel

America’s cities are back: bigger, bolder, and packed full of exciting events, new outdoor spaces, and reimagined dining. Check out Cities We Love for inspiration this summer.

Seattle may have a rainy reputation, but each summer the Emerald City’s gray skies give way to several months of the most perfect, mild, sunny days—and locals know not to waste a minute of it. Join in with an outdoorsy adventure like kayaking on Puget Sound, biking the Burke-Gilman Trail to Gas Works Park, picnicking while admiring a view of the Space Needle in Volunteer Park (also home to the Asian Art Museum), or hiking in the expansive, 534-acre Discovery Park.

For a more urban, outdoor adventure, go art-spotting at Olympic Sculpture Park, walk the new Market to MOHAI pedestrian corridor (completed in 2020) while learning about Seattle history, or catch a Shakespeare in the Park performance by GreenStage (July 9 to August 14).

Although much of the city’s live music paused during the COVID-19 pandemic, venues are beginning to reopen for summer 2021. Listen to artists like Primus and Cypress Hill at an outdoor concert at Marymoor Park (beginning in August), or support one of the city’s many independent music venues. Our picks include Capitol Hill’s Neumos, which features artists and dance parties from across the genre spectrum—a performance by Washington-based rock band, Chastity Belt, and a Bowie-inspired dance party are both on the summer calendar—and historic Triple Door in Downtown Seattle.

Of course, no trip to Seattle is complete without a cup of coffee, pint of craft beer, or a meal sourced from Northwest ingredients—but go beyond the beloved mainstays and explore restaurants, breweries, and cafés owned by Seattle’s large AAPI community. Grab a cup of single-origin Philippine coffee and an ube cheesecake at Hood Famous Cafe + Bar. Sample craft brews like the shishito-habanero Two Pepper Pale Ale at Lucky Envelope Brewing. Fill up on Chinese food at historic Tai Tung, established in Seattle’s International District in 1935. Or slurp a bowl of cold, handmade soba noodles by chef Mutsuko Soma at Kamonegi before a nightcap at its sister sake bar, Hannyatou, next door.

The new Park Lobby in the Asian Art Museum.

The new Park Lobby in the Asian Art Museum.

Adam Hunter/LMN Architects

Where to stay in Seattle

Opened in 2020, the luxurious Lotte Hotel is one of Seattle’s newest and conveniently located in Pioneer Square and within walking distance of Downtown, the International District, and a LINK light rail stop that connects visitors with the airport. Inside, the hotel features 189 rooms with a blend of midcentury-modern design and Pacific Northwest–inspired touches, as well as an on-site bar, restaurant, and spa.

For a more boutique experience, book a room at the Kimpton Palladian, housed in a renovated building originally constructed in 1910 as the Calhoun Hotel. Though modern and full of comfortable amenities, the centrally located hotel maintains a nod to its storied past through its design details, like the preservation of its original Palladian windows.

Alternatively, Seattle is also home to many great Airbnbs—from houseboats in South Lake Union to hip apartments in Capitol Hill, a central neighborhood.

Go deeper

The Seattle Good Business Network was launched in 2010 to help people find local shops, restaurants, and businesses in Seattle. Notably, it has one of the better lists of Black-owned businesses and an initiative called Seattle Made, which features products made by local producers and manufacturers. Keep an eye out for the Seattle Made logo across town, or pop by its store in the Sea-Tac airport to stock up on souvenirs before you leave.

For a cup of coffee with a cause, head over to Street Bean café in Belltown. Launched in 2009, the coffee shop provides supportive employment training for youth without stable housing. Through its apprenticeship program, young apprentices learn valuable skills, get job experience, and gain a support network that helps them find employment and stability.

>>Next: The Best Cities in the United States in 2021

Jessie Beck is a San Francisco-based writer and associate director of SEO and video at AFAR. She contributes to travel gear, outdoor adventure, and local getaway coverage and has previously lived in Washington, D.C., Malta, Seattle, and Madagascar.
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